It’s tax return time, and that means millions of Americans will receive a sizable check straight from the government. Many Americans spend this money right away, but others hang on to it, unsure of what to do. After all, we don’t often receive several hundred dollars with no strings attached (or bills to pay). If you are unsure of how to use your tax return, consider one of these options.
Pay Off Debt
If you have any credit card debt or a loan with a high interest rate, take the opportunity to pay down this debt right away. Just make sure to pay it the way you want; paying toward principal will lower your future payments, but making future payments is smart if you think you may be strapped for cash in a few months. You should still continue to pay each month, regardless.
If you don’t have high-interest debt, you can also apply your tax return to a low-interest loan, such as a mortgage or student loans. Any dent in your total amount of debt will result in less headaches down the line, so consider it a present to yourself.
Up Your Savings
Everyone should have an emergency fund for the unexpected problems in life. A tax return is a great opportunity to add a large chunk of money to that fund. If you have a sizable emergency fund, though, you may still want to add your return to a savings account. It can be helpful for buying a house, a car, or even a vacation.
Investing is one area I won’t give strict advice on, because everyone has their own investment style. However, one thing everyone should consider investing in is themselves. Whether this means contributing to your retirement fund or taking an online class to learn a new skill, you should consider spending your money in a way that will positively affect your future. Other than that, you could invest in the stock market or cryptocurrency, or even government bonds.
Buy a Necessity
Everyone needs something at one point or another. If you absolutely need a certain item or need to get something fixed or replaced, take your tax return as an opportunity to get this done. Just make sure that what you need is an actual necessity and not something you just really want.
Having an extra couple hundred dollars on hand is a great way to overspend and get yourself in trouble. However, there are plenty of responsible ways you can use your tax return to benefit yourself. Consider using one of these tips and making a smart decision with your money.